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CAIS NEWS ©

LATEST ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS OF IRAN & THE IRANIAN WORLD

 

Shirin Ebadi to take on Authorities over Sivand Dam

 

18 April 2007

 

 

Shirin Ebadi 

Sivand Inundation2.jpg (34614 bytes)

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  Sivand dam immediately after inundation

(Click to enlarge)

 

LONDON, (CAIS) -- Following the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization’s (ICHO) approval to implement the controversial Sivand Dam project, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi announced plans to initiate legal proceedings against Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, the ICHO president, as well as Parviz Fattah, Iran’s Minister of Energy. A number of experts have said that the dam posses a serious danger to Iran’s historic sites, dating back to over 2,000 years, because of water displacements and other environmental/ecologic changes it will create.

 

Recently, Mashai, who presides over the ICHO, told reporters, “The experts have concluded their archeological excavations at the Balaghi mountain pass, and there is no reason not to begin filling up the Sivand Dam’s water reservoir.” Mashai added, “We have signed an agreement with the Ministry of Energy, which we hope will be finalized next week. What is definite is that the Sivand Dam will not become operational until the end of June.”

 

Commenting on whether or not the dam has already become operational, Mashai said, “The dam’s reservoir has not been filled yet, which in any case does not require the Cultural Heritage Organization’s approval. However, a center will be established to monitor the effects of water vapor and steam caused by the dam, particularly on Cyrus’s tomb.”

 

Coinciding with the ICHO’s approval of the Sivand Dam’s becoming operational, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, member of the Center of Human Rights Defenders, and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi warned against the Sivand Dam’s destructive effects on some of Iran’s most celebrated archeological sites.

 

According to various news reports, members of the Center of Human Rights Defenders, including Mohammad Ali Dadkhah and Shirin Ebadi, are putting together legal complaints against Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, the ICHO president, as well as Parviz Fattah, the Minister of Energy in President Ahmadinejad’s cabinet.

 

The Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported earlier this week that the Sivand Dam became operational on April 1, 2007.

 

According to ILNA’s report, the government has been discreetly controlling the area surrounding the dam since April 1. Government officials, for instance, have not let any individuals enter the area, and have denied a number of cultural heritage activists access to the site as well. During the Nowruz holidays [Nowruz refers to the Iranian new year which starts on every March 21st], such restrictions caused an uproar among cultural heritage activists, even sparking physical clashes between activists and guards on several occasions.

 

According to ILNA’s report, pictures taken from the dam on April 1 show an increase in the amount of water in the dam’s reservoir. Interestingly, officials in Fars province’s Cultural Heritage Organization are unaware of the dam’s operation.

 

The Pasargad area in the Fars province is Iran’s fifth internationally recognized archeological site. During its last regional session in China, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added Pasargad to its World Heritage List.

 

 

 

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